And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 1 Corinthians 15:17-19
Dr. Bart Ehrman isn't trying to destroy anyone's faith.
On the other hand Dr. Ehrman, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has concluded
- 19 of the 27 books in the New Testament are forgeries;
- the divinity of Jesus isn't based on anything the Savior or His early followers said;
- Jesus didn't rise from the dead and the disciples had "visions" of Jesus.
No, Dr. Bart Ehrman, like many other scholars, isn't trying to destroy people's faith. On the other hand, when he is done sharing his point of view, a great many who listen to him will find their faith is left with, well, nothing.
That is the point St. Paul made centuries ago when he said, "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile . . . . "
Paul was right and the logic is simple: if Jesus didn't rise, then those who die with faith in Him will not rise. If believers don't rise from the dead, then what is the point of Christianity? The faith becomes nothing more than a compilation of wise, but non-inspired sayings, which encourage people to do good stuff.
But Christianity is more than just another compendium of deep thoughts.
More than 1900 years before Dr. Ehrman and his fellow non-believers were born, our all-knowing Lord anticipated their doubts and denials. Not only did God anticipate these doubting deniers of the resurrection, He also spoke to them through Peter who said, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:19b-20).
That is the way it has always been. People can believe fallible man or their faithful Lord. For me there is no choice. I pray it is the same for you.
THE PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, I am thankful You have not only saved me through Jesus' suffering, death, and resurrection, but You have also anticipated and answered those who would sow seeds of doubt in the fields of faith. Send Your Holy Spirit to guide souls to the truth of the Savior's victory. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries